In the latest episode, aired on 29 September on BBC1, Rip Off Britain shines its spotlight on Identity Theft – how and where it happens, and what consumers can do to prevent it.
ID theft is a hugely profitable and fast growing business. People are conducting more of their lives online and putting themselves at risk by using a single password across multiple accounts. Presenter Angela Rippon commented, “If that makes our lives easier, it does exactly the same for the fraudsters”.
The programme interviewed Darren Innes, of HasMyIdentityBeenStolen.com, a website where consumers can check for free whether their identity is currently compromised. Innes explained that most criminal activity, such as identity trading, happens on the ‘Dark Web’, a huge secret area of the Internet, filled with password protected websites. Here, complete personal profiles are built over a period of up to two years, beginning with only email addresses and passwords.
Credit card theft is one of the most common crimes resulting from ID theft. The programme revealed how genuine credit cards can be bought on ‘Carding Sites’ on the Dark Web for as little as £2.50, used to buy high value goods in an innocent person’s name, which will then be delivered to other addresses and sold on for profit.
Asked how consumers could prevent themselves becoming victims of ID fraud, Innes said, ” The bottom line is we have to be responsible for our own personal data by changing passwords regularly, checking credit reports and examining bank statements for unauthorised activity,” he advised, “That is really the only way we will prevent this.”